Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Books

Unless otherwise indicated, all OI books are distributed by The University of North Carolina Press.


Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland

A Carroll Saga, 1500–1782

Ronald Hoffman and Sally Mason


Paper: 978-0-8078-5347-4 ($28.95)

Copyright 2000
University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  • Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award, Southern Historical Association (2001)
  • Library of Virginia Literary Award for Non-Fiction (2001)
  • Maryland Historical Society Book Prize (2002)

Description

Charles Carroll of Carrollton is most often remembered as the sole Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. In this monumental study of the Carrolls in Ireland and America, that act vindicates a family's determination to triumph without compromising lineage and faith.

Ronald Hoffman peels back layer after layer of Carroll family history, from dispossession in Ireland to prosperity and prominence in America. Driven to emigrate by England's devastating anti-Catholic policies, the first Carroll brought to Maryland an iron determination to reconstitute his family and fortune. He found instead an increasingly militant Protestant society that ultimately disenfranchised Catholics and threatened their wealth and property. Confronting religious antagonisms like those that had destroyed their Irish ancestors, this Carroll and his descendants founded a fortune—and a dynasty that risked everything by allying with the American Revolutionary cause.

Meeting each crisis with a tenacious will to survive and prevail, the Carrolls earned an esteemed place in the new nation. Hoffman balances private lives against their contentious public role in American history. The journey from Irish rebels to American revolutionaries shaped and shattered the Carrolls—and then remade them into one of the first families of the Republic.


About the Author

Ronald Hoffman is director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia, and professor of history at the College of William and Mary.


Reviews

Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland tells a powerful and compelling story.... It will take its place among the very best of the intergenerational family histories of colonial and Revolutionary America.

--John Murrin


Ronald Hoffman’s extraordinary book is far more than a family biography. It not only frames three generations of Carrolls within the larger struggles of the Anglo-Irish-American world, but it reveals the human dimensions of Catholic/Protestant conflict on two continents.... That the Carrolls seized their opportunities and eventually converted from outsiders into insiders during the Revolutionary era is a tribute to them; that Ron Hoffman has told this transatlantic story with such skill is a tribute to him.

--Elaine Forman Crane


This family saga, chronicling the fall and rise of the Carroll family from the trauma of the Conquests of Ireland to their recovery of full political status in the American Revolution, is pursued with a vigor and intensity worthy of Thomas Mann.... This is a gripping read and a prime example of Atlantic history at its best.

--Nicholas Canny


[A] magnificently researched and engrossing book.

--Times Literary Supplement


A contribution both to early modern Irish history and to the history of colonial Maryland. Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland

--Journal of American History


The Carroll family saga is full of powerful, often tragic figures that Hoffman and Mason describe with flair and grace. Theirs is the rare book that will appeal to both professional historians and to those whose interest in early American history is more casual.

--American Historical Review


[The authors] present a compelling account not just of Charles the Signer but of the entire Carroll family. . . . Hoffman and Mason transform a family narrative whose moment of glory was a sectarian vignette in 1776 into fully realized scenes within a wider drama of religious strife, colonization, revolution, as well as tense relations across generations and between the sexes.

--Journal of Southern History


What Hoffman has done, adding significantly to the many previous Carroll studies, is investigate the family's background—the chaotic Ireland of Tudor and Stuart times. . . . This is a complicated narrative, but Ronald Hoffman tells it surely and well.

--Baltimore Sun


A contribution both to early modern Irish history and to the history of colonial Maryland. Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland is a study of the survival and revival of a family that by all the odds ought to have gone to the wall at several points in its history. . . . It is an engrossing tale, expertly told.

--Journal of American History


Ronald Hoffman breathes passion and interest into this [story]. . . . An outstanding contribution . . . that deserves a wide readership.

--Georgia Historical Quarterly


[A] magnificently researched and engrossing book.

--Times Literary Supplement


Hoffman offers a magnificently researched and engrossing book that places a family firmly within the context of its time. It is a story of patriotism, capitalism and religious discrimination. . . . The high price of religious animosity and the daring choice of a family to risk fortune and prominence to support the cause of American independence make this a gripping read.

--Library of Virginia Literary Awards Committee


This book will be widely read by professional historians. The Carroll family saga is full of powerful, often tragic figures that Hoffman and Mason describe with flair and grace. Theirs is the rare book that will appeal to both professional historians and to those whose interest in early American history is more casual.

--American Historical Review